WINCHESTER civic chiefs hope to capitalise on the grassroots activism that sprung up to help tackle coronavrius.

Some 100 groups were quickly established in March and April across the district to help the old and vulnerable and poor deal with the lockdown.

Richard Botham, council strategic director told the scrutiny committee: "A hundred community groups set up and worked well and made sure people have not been isolated. They have proved to be self sufficient and we have focussed out efforts on plugging the gaps.

"We want to build on the platforms that have been established, and make sure we do not lose those benefits."

Cllr Ann Weir said the groups provided new ways for the council to engage with the community.

Cllr Hugh Lumby, who represents the Upper Meon Valley, said there was local feeling that the council has been slow to engage with the community.

Chief executive Laura Taylor responded: "We really wish the member had told us that sooner. But I don't recognise that communication has been lacking," saying the council had been quick to use social media.